Patrick Awarded Barry Scholarship for Study at Oxford

April 25, 2024

NES senior Shane Patrick has been awarded the John and Daria Barry Scholarship for study at the University of Oxford, where he will pursue an MPhil in Islamic Studies and History at Wolfson College. Patrick’s senior thesis examines an 18th-century Lebanese Christian legal text, the “Mukhtaṣar al-Sharīʿa of ʿAbdallāh Qarāʿalī,” which draws on both Christian legal traditions and Islamic law and is advised by Class of 1943 University Professor of Near Eastern Studies Michael Cook, with associated NES faculty member Jack Tannous (History) also serving as a second reader and mentor.  In addition to majoring in NES, Patrick is pursuing certificates in Arabic Language and Culture, Hellenic Studies, Medieval Studies, and Roman Language and Culture. As a junior, he won the Department of Near Eastern Studies Prize for Best Junior Paper for his work, “Chalcedon and the Sultan: Ayyubid Sultanic Engagement with Coptic Christology in the life of Cyril III ibn Laqlaq,” also advised by Michael Cook.

Cook described Patrick’s thesis as displaying “a level of research and analysis that would do ample credit to a graduate student. … The brunt of Shane's work lies in a disciplined philological comparison of the two Arabic texts, but he also uses this and other evidence to tease out the best answers we can give to larger biographical and historical questions about what the Maronite author was up to in his law book, and he does this in ways that are often acute. In short, this is publishable scholarship, and it demonstrates that Shane is a serious and talented scholar in the making.”

Tannous recalls that “[f]rom the first moment he walked into my office, I realized that Shane was something special—a precocious and gifted student.  He is an absolutely remarkable undergraduate.  Shane has amazing linguistic gifts and is able to do research at the level of a graduate student in a number of different languages.  But he’s more than just a talented student of languages—he’s an incredibly quick study more generally, with omnivorous interests in the study of the Near East and Mediterranean worlds, from late antiquity to the early modern period.  If he chooses to continue on an academic route, Shane could make important contributions in any number of fields.  It’s been a real joy to work with him these past few years.

“The Barry Scholarship is an academic prize awarded in recognition of a student’s dedication to the academic vocation and pursuit of truth. It provides full funding for a minimum of two years of graduate study at the University of Oxford. The Barry Scholarship is awarded by academics themselves through a dedicated network of nominators at leading academic institutions in Britain and the United States of America and, as a prize, cannot be applied for. Generously supported by the John and Daria Barry Foundation, the Barry Scholarship is an initiative of the Canterbury Institute, an Oxford-based charity that seeks rediscovery of the academic vocation.”